The World’s Largest Plane Suffers Minor Damage During Landing

The largest plane in the world has been busy as ever, moving record-breaking loads and oversized cargo around the world for Antonov Airlines. However, on one mission to Rzeszow Airport (RZE) in Poland, the huge An-225 suffered damage to its landing gear. Antonov Airlines confirmed that a bolt securing the sensors had been ‘cut’ on the mount of the right landing gear.

Antonov An-225 Mriya
The An-225 damaged its landing gear in a spectacular foggy touchdown. Photo: Getty Images

An-225 lands in thick fog

The incident occurred on January 9th, as the huge aircraft touched down at the Polish airport on a flight from Istanbul. The Mriya had taken off at around 06:00 UTC, heading north for the hour and 45-minute flight to Rzeszow. As is often the case with the An-225, its arrival attracted plenty of attention on what was a cold and foggy morning in Poland.

In footage shared online, a large crowd can be seen ready to enjoy the approach of the An-225. Although the plane can be heard approaching, the fog obscured any visual connection until right at the last minute. The An-225 emerges from the foggy skies like a beast from beneath the waves, coming in for a safe landing at RZE.

The World’s Largest Plane Suffers Minor Damage During Landing
The aircraft landed safely at RZE. Image:

Antonov pilot Dmytro Antonov shared cockpit footage of what looks to be a smooth and safe landing of the giant aircraft. He notes that the aircraft was conducting a service from China to Poland with an overnight in Istanbul. However, he doesn’t mention the damage to the landing gear.

It’s incredible to see the An-225 cutting through the fog in this way. Its wake turbulence literally clears the haze out of its path, leaving a streak of clear blue sky behind it.

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Damaged landing gear

Although the touchdown and rollout looked to be safe and incident-free, a post-flight inspection revealed damage to a bolt on the landing gear. In a statement, the Antonov company said,

“On January 9, 2022, while the AN-225 aircraft landing at Rzeszów airport, Poland, on a starboard main landing gear strut the bolts fixing the landing gear position sensor “flight-ground” were damaged. The detected malfunction did not affect the safety of flight and landing of aircraft. After replacement of the damaged bolts, the aircraft will be fully operational. The AN-225 will continue its commercial flight.”

According to reporting at the Aviationist, Antonov’s maintenance team flew in shortly after onboard an An-26. The necessary repairs were carried out, and Mriya was soon on her way once more. The Antonov Company confirmed in a tweet yesterday afternoon that the An-225 was all fixed up and ready to continue her mission.

At just before 16:00 UTC yesterday, the An-225 took off from Rzeszow for Tianjin in China. It landed safely at 02:00 UTC. Having been restocked with cargo, the giant plane took off just minutes ago and is safely on its way to its next destination.

The World’s Largest Plane Suffers Minor Damage During Landing
The An-225 has been busy in recent months. Image:

Despite its huge size, the An-225 has been busy throughout the winter season, operating flights all over the world. December was its busiest month out of all of 2021, with 22 flights undertaken for a total of 123 flight hours. Destinations visited include Almaty, Tianjin, Istanbul and Leipzig, although it has arrived at around 16 different airports since this time last year.